David Gardner, BSc Geography

Recent BSc Geography graduate David Gardner completed an 8 week internship working for the Faculty of Science and Technology to produce a portfolio of case studies for the university's website.

What tasks were you employed to do for the company during your internship? Please give us a brief outline.

“The work to be completed for the internship involved creating a portfolio of case studies which demonstrate how the Faculty of Science and Technology works collaboratively with businesses and researchers, both internally and externally. Initial assignments were to complete competitor analysis to review the means by which other universities and organisations promote their work with businesses. Using this information, I co-designed and created case studies using information from a variety of areas, and liaised with the people involved to fill in any missing gaps. Once completed and signed off by the companies/researchers involved, I published the case studies onto the university’s faculty website.”

What were your expectations of the experience? Were they met? Was it how you thought it would be?

“I had a good idea of what the internship would entail from the application process which involved drafting a case study, and this was the majority of the work initially. I thought writing them would be more straightforward, but the amount of missing information made some slightly more difficult. I had envisaged prior to starting that this would be solved via meetings with the researchers/businesses but it was usually via email instead.”

What went well? What would you consider to be your greatest successes a) for you? b) for your host organisation?

“The greatest success was creating case studies which struck the right balance between being visually appealing and containing a good amount of detail to make them an interesting and informative read. Hopefully they will be viewed by students interested in finding out what else the faculty gets up besides teaching and by businesses who are interested in collaborative work.”

What didn’t work so well? Why? What did you do about it?

“It was sometimes frustrating having gone through the drafting process of a case study for it to be put on hold by the business, but these issues were out of my control, and my work will still be used in the future after I have finished the internship.”

What you have learnt? What skills did you develop?

“One of the most valuable skills I have learnt was through using TerminalFour, the university’s web content management system to publish the case studies online. Having had no prior experience with web design, I think this will be a beneficial skill for future use. I now have office experience which many employers look for and have made new contacts throughout the faculty, some of which have offered their support in my search for full time employment.”

Has doing the internship had an effect on your future plans? Did it help you make any decisions on your career?

“The internship has given me a short taster of what a career in marketing could be like and more generally working in an office. Although I’m not currently pursuing a career in marketing, I certainly wouldn’t rule out future work involving it. The internship has reinforced my view that I would want a job with a more equal balance between time spent in and out of the office.”

How you intend to follow the experience up and do you need any extra help to do what you want next?

“I will be searching for further employment following the internship and applying for graduate schemes, ideally eventually working in a job with an environmental aspect to it with the government or an NGO. I think that the experience, skills and network I have developed here will make it a much easier process.”